Missing teeth don’t just leave gaps in your smile. They can also lead to serious and sometimes permanent health problems in your mouth and body. Even one missing tooth, as much as you may be able to bear the look of it, can set off a chain reaction that causes medical issues for you down the line. Bone loss from missing teeth, shifting, further tooth loss and even gum disease are all potential consequences of leaving missing teeth untreated.
Unfortunately, it’s not difficult to lose teeth, even with proper dental care. In Australia, adults over 18 years old have a mean average of six missing teeth. The figure increases with age, with those in the 65+ age bracket missing the most teeth. Illness, injury and trauma, advanced tooth decay, gum disease, and genetic conditions are all contributing causes.
Then, there are the concerns you might have about the social aspects of missing teeth and how you’ll be perceived. If you’re already self-conscious about flashing your smile when having your picture taken, you may have other concerns on your mind. Can missing teeth cause drooling, facial symmetry or a lisp?
This article explores in greater detail some of the health effects of missing teeth: bone loss, gum disease etc., and discusses some solutions. There are many options to replace missing teeth you can turn to, and the right one to choose depends on you and your situation.
Long-Term Oral Health Risks of Missing Teeth
The long-term health risks of missing teeth reach far beyond the purely cosmetic. ‘Can missing teeth cause drooling?’ is a common concern for people who have lost teeth and struggle with feelings of embarrassment and social anxiety. Some of the long-term oral health risks of missing teeth are
Teeth becoming crooked
When you lose one tooth, other teeth shift in order to fill the gap. Over time, a smile that was once straight grows increasingly crooked. Some teeth lean or tilt into the empty space, making them harder to clean between and creating irregular gaps that can trap food and debris, giving cavities a chance to grow.
When teeth move out of place, it eventually leads to an irregular bite. When your bite is misaligned, it can cause a range of other oral and cranial problems, such as grinding and clenching your teeth, jaw pain/TMJ and headaches.
Further tooth loss
When you lose even a single tooth, it often isn’t long until more teeth follow. Your teeth rely on each other to stay in their right positions. Losing a tooth leads to the jawbone around that tooth shrinking, meaning less support for the teeth surrounding it.
Bone loss from missing teeth is very common. Bone weakens without adequate weight bearing and stimulation. When a tooth is missing, the jawbone that supports it won’t be stimulated by biting and chewing, which causes it to start to recede or shrink. This weakening of the alveolar bone not only sets you up for more tooth loss, it also makes treatment more challenging.
Missing teeth and misaligned teeth can both make brushing and flossing harder, leading to plaque and bacteria gathering in hard-to-reach corners and causing decay.
A missing tooth leaves a wound in your mouth that, unfortunately, leaves a warm environment for bacteria to breed in. There are two stages of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Symptoms of gingivitis include redness and swelling, bleeding and receding gums.
Speech and mouth issues
Missing teeth can change your pronunciation of certain words as well as the way your mouth operates. Can missing teeth cause drooling? While they can certainly contribute, missing teeth don’t directly cause drooling or guarantee it will happen. Rather, teeth help support your lips and cheeks as well as guide your tongue. Losing this support can make saliva difficult to control, and you may find yourself spitting more when you speak. So while missing teeth can cause drooling indirectly, it’s not a guaranteed outcome, and there are other factors to consider as well.
Missing teeth affect people in different ways, and not everyone will have the same symptoms or require the same treatment. Fortunately, there are treatments available to prevent bone loss from missing teeth. These options to replace missing teeth can restore your smile along with the state of your oral health.
Solutions for Missing Teeth
Here are some of the most popular options to replace missing teeth that are currently available:
Commonly known as false teeth, dentures are typically made of acrylic resin or lightweight metal with plastic teeth. Dentures restore your smile and make eating and speaking easier, but they need to be removed to be cleaned.
A dental implant is a titanium screw attached to your jawbone to replace the roots of your missing tooth. It supports an artificial tooth called a crown. Dental implants provide permanent replacement teeth, but the procedure often has a long recovery period. If you’ve already experienced significant bone loss from missing teeth, you may need dental bone grafting as well.
The All-on-4® procedure is an advanced form of dental restoration that provides you with brand-new teeth in just 24 hours. The procedure uses just four dental implants – two at the front and two at the back on one jawbone – to support an entire arch of new teeth.
Delivered in two stages with the fitting of a provisional bridge followed by a final bridge, All-on-4® has some unique advantages that set it apart from traditional dental implants and other treatments. The procedure has a 98% success rate, a shorter recovery time and doesn’t require dental bone grafting. So even if you already have substantial bone loss from missing teeth, you can still benefit from treatment with All-on-4®.
Am I A Suitable Candidate for All-on-4®?
There’s a very high chance you’re a suitable candidate for All-on-4® if:
- You’ve lost all or most of your teeth due to injury, illness, accidents etc. All-on-4® is for people with more than one missing tooth. If you’ve only lost one, singular dental implants are a better option for you.
- You have advanced gum disease.
- You can’t have your teeth restored by other means or don’t see any point in doing so.
- You won’t see any significant benefits from restoring your teeth.
- You already have some bone loss from missing teeth.
Book a Consultation at Next Smile Australia
The best way to find out if All-on-4® is right for you is to book a personal consultation with the team at Next Smile Australia. We’re an experienced and empathetic team that carries out All-on-4® procedures in a comfortable, medically regulated environment with access to state-of-the-art technology.
We can help you even if you have bone loss from missing teeth or other issues that make you an unsuitable candidate for traditional dental treatments. In as little as 24 hours, we can provide you with a brand new full set of realistic-looking teeth you’ll be proud to show the world.
If you’d like to find out more about how All-on-4® can prevent bone loss from missing teeth or arrange a personal consultation, get in touch with Next Smile Australia.